CORRECTED-New media site Ozy partners with NPR

Tue May 6, 2014 8:18am EDT

(Corrects spelling of Laurene Powell Jobs and Samir Rao)

By Jennifer Saba

NEW YORK May 6 (Reuters) - Six-month-old new media site Ozy is jumpstarting its distribution and has struck a partnership with U.S. nonprofit radio network NPR.

The alliance, officially announced on Tuesday, broadens ties between the two news organizations since NPR's popular program "All Things Considered" has been producing weekend segments featuring Ozy's stories.

No money is changing hands. Ozy plans to capitalize on NPR's reach online with its more than 20 million monthly unique visitors - more than four times Ozy's online audience - to help more people see its content on NPR's home page.

Additionally, NPR will promote Ozy's articles through its Facebook page, which has nearly 4 million fans.

"We are doing this because we think our audience and Ozy's audience ought to know each other," said Scott Montgomery, head of digital news at NPR.

NPR has other media partnerships with Global Post and Kaiser Health.

"We looked at folks like NPR and a handful of others representing high quality journalism," said Carlos Watson, the co-founder of Ozy. "Our hope is to partner with people like that to take premium journalism to the next level."

The site, which has a dozen full-time global editorial staff and a network of contributors, recently hired Steven Butler, a former foreign editor for Knight Ridder Newspapers, as a senior editor, and Dwayne Shaw, who joined as creative director from Entertainment Weekly.

Backed by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, angel investor Ron Conway, German media company Axel Springer and others, Ozy has joined a crowded field. A spate of media startups like Vox, BuzzFeed, Upworthy, First Look Media and longer established organizations like the New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN are all fighting for reader attention.

"I do think Ozy has one thing in its favor that most of those players don't," said Louise Rogers, an investor and board member. "It's not a generalist site. It's much more editorially focused."

Watson, who is a former MSNBC anchor and co-founded the site with former Goldman Sachs associate Samir Rao, maintains that there is room enough for Ozy. Named after Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" the goal is to tell reader what is going to happen next covering topics such as science, technology, politics and culture.

"We are singularly focused on building a product," Watson said citing the popular cable shows "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad." "In both of those cases, they focused on a really terrific product, then spent a bunch of time growing their audience, and ultimately monetized it."

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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